The church is “a house of prayer” (Matt 21;13). The Bible teaches us to “unceasingly pray, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes 5:17-18) What is praying? The real significance of prayer is not asking God to do something for us, nor asking Him for material things, but to contact God in our spirit and to express Him.
The Significance of Prayer
The importance of prayer to a believer is like the importance of breathing to a human being. The real significance of prayer is to contact God in our spirit and to absorb God Himself. Prayer is the contact of the human spirit with the Spirit of God (John 4:24), during which man inhales God into himself. Therefore, the emphasis of prayer lies not in asking God for things but in contacting and absorbing God. If we want to obtain God, we must pray. Just as the most important thing for a baby at birth is breathing. In our spiritual life, prayer is breathing and is as crucial to a believer as breathing is to a man. A real prayer is the mutual contact between God and man. Every prayer that is truly up to the standard surely will have a condition of mutual flowing between God and man so that man may actually touch God and God may actually touch man; thus, man is united with God, and God with man. Therefore, the highest and most accurate meaning of prayer is that it is the mutual contact between God and man.
The second meaning of prayer is to express God. When we pray to God, we should not speak anything to God according to what we have decided beforehand, but rather utter to God what you sense in your spirit. Do whatever the feeling in your spirit leads you to do. “God is Spirit” (John 4:24) and to worship and pray to Him, we must be in our spirit, that is, we must be “Praying at every time in spirit” (Eph. 6:18). This is the principle of Psalm 27:8: “When You say, Seek My face, / To You my heart says, Your face, O Jehovah, will I seek.” Such prayer is according to God’s speaking within us. Therefore, the words we utter in prayer are an expression of the speaking of God within us.
The Purpose of Prayer
Our prayer is also to co-work with God, that is, to work together with Him. In Isaiah 62:6-7 Jehovah said, “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, / I have appointed watchmen; / All day and all night / They will never keep silent. / You who remind Jehovah, / Do not be dumb; / And do not give Him quiet / Until He establishes / And until He makes Jerusalem / A praise in the earth.” According to these verses, in order for God to make Jerusalem a praise, He first needs to appoint watchmen to remind Him of this matter all day and all night. Had the watchmen prayed ceaselessly, they could have caused Jehovah to work ceaselessly. Here is a principle: without man’s prayer, God cannot work. If we pray ceaselessly, we make God work ceaselessly. God wants to work, but He needs us to pray, to co-work, and to coordinate with Him. Our Lord Jesus teaches us to pray in this way: “Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” (Matt 6:10) Therefore, our pray is to co-work with God that the will of God could be done on earth as in heaven, to bring forth the kingdom of God.